Tag Archives: Sleuthfest

Sleuthfest 2011

Sleuthfest 2011 has officially wound down, and I’m one of the last ones here, sitting by the conference hotel pool watching the sunshine beat back rain clouds and palm trees wave in the breeze. My first ever trip to South Florida has been terrific.

The conference was a blast — a full-on writers’ conference, with panels on craft from beginning to end. I had a great time talking about plot, and series vs standalones, and about how to do research about law enforcement; and telling down-and-dirty tales during “Book Broads” — where they shut the door, and then What Happens at Book Broads Stays at Book Broads. Unless you bought the CD.

A few photos — here I am with mystery author Deborah Crombie:

The Sleuthfest crew welcomed me into their gang.

And I gave a keynote speech about the writing journey: how I find a book’s center, and how I went from unpublished to published. The audience was very kind. I also got to meet a bunch of fabulous writers, editors, cops, and crime scene investigators.

I also got to see the Broward County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad van, to meet its bomb disposal expert, and learn about its bomb disposal robot. And before you ask: (1) No, this is not the bomb disposal robot that blew up Butterscotch the toy pony. That happened in Orlando, not Broward County. And (2) Yes, when the bomb squad and the crime scene investigation van show up, they park around the back of the hotel, not right at the entrance.

Finally: in case you had any doubt, Dennis Lehane is cool.

Thanks to the BookBitch for the photo of my keynote speech.

Hey, Ma — I’m in Florida

And everything they say is true: It is flat. As a manhole cover. But sunny!

Sleuthfest starts today, and already I’m amazed. My name has never been on a tote bag before. This is so cool. When the conference is over, I can write “PROPERTY OF” in front of my name, so nobody will take it by mistake. I don’t know what Dennis Lehane plans to do with his.

“Writers are troublemakers. It’s our job to give readers heartburn.”

Sleuthfest is this weekend. As I’m lucky enough to be one of the guests of honor, the organizers interviewed me about my writing and my career.

Q: CHINA LAKE has non-stop action. What’s your process? Do you outline or use any format? Since it was your debut book, what did you learn by writing it that you now use regularly?

A: Nonstop action – glad it seems so. The characters actually go to a museum and play soccer on the beach in between being chased by violent religious fanatics. So if the action feels nonstop, I’ll fist-pump that the plot succeeds in maintaining suspense.

Read the rest — about Jesse Blackburn, Evan Delaney and Jo Beckett, religious extremism, children in suspense novels, and how I met Stephen King — at the link:

Questions and answers with Guest of Honor Meg Gardiner.

On the road again, headed to Sleuthfest

It’s time to fly. I’m on my way to the east coast before going to Florida in a couple of days for Sleuthfest. I’ll let you know how the food is on that restaurant in the sky, American Airlines.

Sleuthfest schedule: Palm Beach County Library talk

During Sleuthfest I’ll be heading off campus to give a talk at the West Boca Public Library. This is as part of Writers LIVE! 2011.

Thurs, March 3, 2:00 p.m.
West Boca Branch Library
18685 State Road 7
Boca Raton, FL 33498
Register (and make sure you get a seat)
Information: Contact Community Relations at 561-233-2767 or cr@pbclibrary.org.

Sleuthfest: a preliminary schedule

Sleuthfest 2011 is now only a couple of weeks away: March 3-6. I’m excited that the conference has invited me to be one of its guests of honor along with Dennis Lehane and S.J. Rozan.

I’m the official Guest of Honor on Friday, March 4. And the conference organizers have packed my day full. Here’s a preliminary schedule:

9:00-9:50 a.m. Panel: The Plot Thickens: Plotting — the backbone of every mystery — with James Benn, James O. Born, Nancy Cohen and Moderator Neil Plakcy (current MWA-FL Chapter President).

10:00-10:50 a.m. Panel: Arresting Behavior — a look at how cops work and how to cultivate law enforcement sources — with Deborah Cromble, James O. Born, Wallace Stroby and Moderator Cheryl Solimini.

Booksigning immediately following.

12:00-2:00 p.m. – Lunch with Meg Gardiner in the Grand Ballroom. Keynote Speech and Q & A.

Short booksigning immediately following lunch.

2:15-3:05 p.m. Panel: Series, Standalone or Both: Pros and cons of what direction to take your writing — with Paul Levine, James Grippando, Elaine Viets and Moderator Linda Hengerer.

Booksigning immediately following.

4:45-5:15 p.m. A book discussion by the pool of China Lake.

All I can say is: I get to spend the day hanging out with writers, talking about crime fiction nonstop, and ending with a book discussion by the pool — how did I get so lucky?

And I’ll be around the rest of the weekend. Saturday afternoon I’m on the “Bookbroads” panel with P.J. Parrish, Karen Kendall, Oline Codgill, and Heather Graham, moderated by Randy Rawls.

Check out the link above to see who else will be there, to find out about panels and parties, and to sign up. Let me repeat: book discussion by the pool. On the beach in southern Florida.

Hope to see you there.